Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox [15]

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we share books that we've received.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: Violet Eyes

Title: Violet Eyes
Series: Once Upon a Time
Author: Debbie Viguié
Release Date: February 23, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Cover Designer:
Cara E. Petrus
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Fairy tales
Summary: When a storm brings the dashing Prince Richard to her family's farm, Violet falls in love at first sight. Richard also gives Violet his heart, but he knows his marriage is destined to be an affair of state, not of passion. For the king and queen have devised a contest to determine who will win their son's hand in marriage.
To be reunited with her prince, Violet must compete against princesses from across the land. It will take all of her wits—and a little help from an unexpected source—if Violet is to demonstrate the depth of her character and become Richard's bride.

My Review:
I’ll admit that “The Princess and the Pea” was never one of my favorite fairy tales. In fact, I always thought that the whole concept was rather silly. But I ended up enjoying Debbie Viguié’s retelling.

Very much unlike the original story, Violet is not a princess, but a lowly farmer’s daughter, and a country girl through and through. However, she is determined to marry Prince Richard, so she enters the competition along with dozens of princesses to compete in a series of challenges for the honor of marrying the prince. The challenges are ridiculous things, like telling which of two single threads is silk or cotton, or walking across a lawn barefoot to see how much the princesses’ delicate feet will bleed. As Violet makes friends and enemies, she discovers that there are real challenges hidden amongst the silly ones, and she must figure them out if she wants to marry Richard. This book wasn’t completely unlike the original tale, but all I’m going to say is that Richard can only marry a “true” princess.

Despite the short length of the book, I didn’t feel that it was lacking plotwise. I also liked to see how Violet interacted with her new friends, all of whom were were well-rounded characters considering they had so little time to develop. The challenges within the challenges were strategically placed, but I still figured out most of them right away.

There was one thing that stopped me from liking the book a lot more than I did. When I read in the summary that “Violet falls in love at first sight”, I really, really hoped that line would turn out to be misleading. But it didn’t. Richard takes refuge at Violet’s family’s farm for a few days after he becomes ill from getting caught in a thunderstorm, and by the time he leaves he and Violet are declaring “undying love” for each other! (And that’s not even the cheesiest thing Richard/Violet says to Violet/Richard.) I used to be more tolerable about this sort of thing, but my standards have risen. I cannot stand insta-love at all.

Aside from the disappointing romantic aspect, I liked this little book. It was pretty much mindless entertainment, nothing special, but a great quick read.

Cover vs. Cover [10]

Cover vs. Cover is a weekly meme, hosted here, where I compare different covers of the same book. For more information, visit the Weekly Features page.

This week's competing covers are:

             The US Cover                                    The UK Cover

US, definitely. While I like the scene from the book that's portrayed on the UK cover, I can't forgive the cheesy-style art.
But actually, the cover I like better than either of these is the one for the US hardcover:
You know how most of the time when a series starts out with a different cover than the other books, you can't have a matching set if you buy the hardcovers? That really annoys me, but in this case, the Leviathan hardcover is only slightly different from the covers of following books, so if you buy the hardcovers you can still have a matching set!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Follow Friday [21]

This Week's Question: Let's step away from books for a second and get personal. What T-Shirt slogan best describes you?

My Answer:
If I could only pick one:

I watch The Office religiously, and (sadly) I can find something "that's what she said"-worthy in almost every conversation.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: Invincible Summer

Title: Invincible Summer
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Cover Designer:
Cara E. Petrus
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Contemporary
Tagline: Some girls are addictive.
Summary: Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?
Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart.

My Review:
The first thing I want to say is to NOT judge this book by its cover. It’s a great cover, but it doesn’t fit the book at all. The girl in a bikini lying on the beach gives the impression of a fluffy summer romance, which this book most definitely was not.

I heard about the Camus quoting before I started reading the book, and I thought it would bother me. But it didn’t. In fact, I really liked it, and now I’m curious to read more of Camus’ work. This could just be a personal view, but I didn’t think it was unusual for the teens to quote Camus in everyday speech at all. I saw it as no more abnormal than the way my family always quotes TV shows and movies.

The writing was so real and honest. There was a lot of heavy swearing, but I liked that! Teens swear in real life, so it would be short of the truth to not have them swear in fiction. I was so compelled that I was up until 3 a.m. reading this book. And unlike most of the time, I wasn’t reading because I couldn't sleep. I couldn't sleep because I was reading.

In the beginning, when you’re reading about a barbecue the McGills are having with their beach house neighbors, the Hathaways, everything about the scene and setting gives off such a happy and content feeling you know it’s going to become something you’ll look back on with nostalgia later in the book. The dialogue between Chase and his siblings made me laugh out loud at times because they sounded like conversations I would have with my siblings—though my family is nowhere near as dysfuctional as the McGill’s.

I really don’t know what more I can say about this book. Invincible Summer was not completely a happy story, but it was a realistic, beautiful and intense one that needed to be told.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cover vs. Cover [9]

Cover vs. Cover is a weekly meme, hosted here, where I compare different covers of the same book. For more information, visit the Weekly Features page.

This week's competing covers are:

             The US Cover                                    The UK Cover

I certainly like the title font of the US cover better than the UK. Also, the book jacket is even prettier in real life than the picture online is, it's all shimmery and foil-y. What I don't like about either covers is that neither have strawberry blonde hair, which was Clara's natural hair color. Then again, the US cover model's hair is purple, so I guess it could be any color you want.
So, while the UK cover is very very pretty (love the foggy forest and light shining in), the US is the winner.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: We Hear the Dead

Title: We Hear the Dead
Author: Dianne K. Salerni
Release Date: May 1, 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Cover Designer:
Marci Senders
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Historical fiction
Tagline: Maggie Fox didn't mean to create a new religion...
Summary: It starts as a harmless prank...then one lie quickly grows into another. Soon Kate and Maggie Fox are swept into a dizzying flurry of national attention for their abilities to communicate with the dead. But living a lie is sometimes too much to handle, even if you have the best intentions.
Based on a true story, We Hear the Dead reveals how secrets and lies can sometimes lead you to what's real and what's right. And how sometimes talking with the dead is easier than talking with the people around you.

My Review:
Okay, admit many of you glanced at the title and cover and thought this book was a paranormal romance set in the Victorian era? I know I did, at least until I read the summary. But this book was more interesting than anything supernatural would have been.

It was about Maggie and Kate Fox, the two girls who were responsible for the creation of spiritualism. However, they were frauds! It all started when they were children. Their niece Lizzie was visiting, and Maggie and Kate didn’t want her around. They made rapping sounds and talked to the “ghost” that was making them, just as a prank to scare Lizzie away. But it goes on for several nights, and their parents call the neighbors to come see, then the neighbors tell their friends, and before you know it, Maggie and Kate are hosting spirit circles. Only two people know that they’re frauds: Leah, their older sister (and Lizzie’s mother) who takes control of the deception as soon as she finds out, and Calvin, their close friends who helps them perform tricks such making the “spirits” play the piano or shake the table.

Now, I’m very, very picky when it comes to historical fiction about real people. If the facts aren’t accurate, I can’t take it. Luckily, We Hear the Dead was very historically accurate! Also, despite being 448 pages long, this book went by pretty fast. I often glance at the page number at random times while I’m reading, and in this case, I would be on page 100...then seemly a few moments later, I would be on page 146!

I guess you could say this book was told form alternating points of view, but it didn’t alternate very often. The sequence is about seven chapters from Maggie’s POV, then one from Kate’s (those numbers are not 100% accurate, but you know what I mean). I had absolutely no trouble distinguishing between the voices of the two girls, but I wish there had been more chapters from Kate’s POV.

Another thing I would have changed about this book was the fact that few side characters disappeared from the story when they were no longer needed. One of them was David, Maggie and Kate’s older brother. He was around a lot in the beginning of the book, but after Maggie, Kate, Leah and their mother moved from Hydesville, where the rapping began, to Rochester, he never appeared again, and was only mentioned once more. There was another character who "disappeared", but I can't say more than that without spoiling the book. I know that back in the 19th century people didn’t keep in touch much, but it still bothered me.

Entertaining and clever, We Hear the Dead was a well-written piece of historical fiction, even if there were a couple things I didn't like. The author has gotten me interested in the Fox sisters, and I’m definitely going to check out the list of sources and further reading she included in the back of the book.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox [14]

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we share books that we've received.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cover vs. Cover [8]

Cover vs. Cover is a weekly meme, hosted here, where I compare different covers of the same book. For more information, visit the Weekly Features page.

This week's competing covers are:

             The US Cover                                    The UK Cover

Even though I like the laser beams on the UK cover, the US wins by a long shot. It's mostly because Kat is not a blonde (assuming that it's Kat on the cover), though I also like the glasses that reflects the painting. I also like how the US cover model has a more serious look on her face than the UK.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Follow Friday [20]

This Week's Question: What do I do when I am not reading?

My Answer:
I live on the Internet.

BUT, in the rare event that I manage to tear myself away from the Internet, I play the piano, care for my rabbit and cats, go to the library, talk to my RL friends, eat, sleep. I don't watch TV often, but when I do, it's either The Office, kid's cartoons like Phineas and Ferb, or online anime.

Come to think of it, I have a pretty boring life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: Luna

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Title: Luna
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Release Date: May 26, 2004
Publisher: Little, Brown
Cover Designer:
 Alyssa Morris
Age Audience: YA
Genre: LGBT
Tagline: N/A
Summary: From as early as she can remember, Regan O’Neill has known that her brother Liam was different. That he was, in fact, a girl. Transgender. Having a transgender brother has never been a problem for Regan—until now.
Liam (or Luna, as she prefers to be called by her chosen name) is about to transition. What does it mean, transitioning? Dressing like a girl? In public? Does Liam expect Regan to embrace this decision, to welcome his sex change?
She’s always kept her brother’s secret, always been his confidante, but now Regan’s acceptance and love will be put to the test.

My Review:
Luna is Julie Anne Peter’s most well-known book, and I’ve read so many glowing reviews. Because of that, I think I was expecting a groundbreaking novel of YA LGBT. But, that was not the case.

Even though it’s not told from her point of view, this book is the story of Luna, a girl who was born into the body of a boy named Liam. Liam has always known that he was really a girl, but he has to hide his true identity from everyone except Reagan, his sister. One day, Liam tells Reagan that Luna cannot be hidden anymore, and he starts what he refers to as his "transition".

Before I start criticizing, I want to say that this was a very, very good transgender awareness book. It’s so sad that what I’m about to say is true, but people are even more prejudiced and hateful toward transgenders than they are to homosexuals or bisexuals. You should absolutely read this book if you don’t know or understand much about transgender people.

There was the same simple, cherished writing in Luna as there was in Keeping You a Secret and Between Mom and Jo, so what really didn’t work for me was the characters. I could not connect or identify with Reagan at all. I also thought that Liam was very selfish! I know that he didn’t have an easy life, but he should have been more considerate of Reagan’s feelings. For example, in one part of the book Reagan promised to babysit for the neighbor’s, but also promised to go to a party with her new friend. So she asks Liam to babysit in her place. But when she returns from the party, Reagan finds that Liam had gone through the neighbor’s clothes and got caught! She looses her job because Liam “had no control” over Luna! In the beginning of the book I wished that it was told from Luna’s POV so that we could get inside the mind of a transgender teenager, but later on I was glad it wasn’t, because otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to fully see how Liam’s self-centered actions affected Reagan.

Another qualm I have is with one flashback scene that involves Liam as a toddler, playing in a kiddie pool on a summer afternoon. I suppose it was a necessary part of the book because it showed that Liam knew from a young age that he was really a girl. But in that scene, Peters crossed the fine, fine line between honest and vulgar.

While I was a little disappointed with Luna, overall it was an excellent awareness book, and just because of that I feel that it deserves to be a National Book Award Finalist.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

2¢ Tuesdays [2]

2¢ Tuesdays is a meme hosted by Penny at Penny Reads. It's a feature where book bloggers can weigh in with their two cents on book related topics.

This week's topic is:
Which book to movie adaptions do you love?
Which ones are so bad that you wish you could unsee them?
Which ones actually turned out better than the book?

One book-to-movie adaption I love is the adaption of The Princess Diaries. It's very very different from the book, but I don't care! I love how Disney took out all the not-really-for-kids content, but still managed to make it a cute and enjoyable movie.
Another good one is the movie adaption of Holes. It was so true to the book, I was surprised! The only things that were different were a couple minor details that weren't important at all.

One that's so bad I wish I could un-see it is the adaption of Prince Caspian. It was so terrible. I hate how they *spoilers* added the romance between Susan and Caspian! It NEVER happened in the books! It was completely pointless too, because they never see each other again anyway! Some of the dialogue was really cheesy too, not at all like the book.

As for ones that turned out better than the book.....don't come at me with pitchforks, but I liked the Inkheart movie better than the Inkheart book. I think the book dragged a little (though that could be because it's translated), whereas the movie was pretty fast-paced.
Another movie I like far better than the book is Stuart Little. Stuart Little is one of those movie that my family has seen 3,000,000 times, and we all quote it on a regular basis. I didn't read the book until much later, and I was sooo disappointed. The ending was the worst. It was like E. B. White thought, "Oh, I'm bored of writing this," and just ended the book.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Title: The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Series: Jenna Fox Chronicles, #1
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Release Date: April 29, 2008
Publisher: Henry Holt
Cover Designer:
Meredith Pratt
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Sci-fi
Tagline: Who is Jenna Fox?
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name.  She has just awoken from a year-long comma, and she's still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. Her parents show her home movies of her life, her memories, but she has no recollection. Is she really the same girl she sees on the screen?
Little by little, Jenna begins to remember. But along with the memories come questions—questions no one wants to answer for her. What really happened after the accident?

My Review:
I discovered this book on one of my libraries’ blogs two years ago, way back when I first started reading YA. I don’t know why, but after reading the summary I came to the conclusion that this book was a contemporary amnesia-themed novel and didn’t consider reading it. But a few months ago, I was at the library and I saw it shelved in science fiction! That alone was reason enough to make me pick it up.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox was slow in places, because Jenna regained her memory and grew re-accustomed to the world slowly. But the slow pace allowed a lot of character study. Some parts of the book are written in very short sentences, there are whole pages in which each sentence is only three or four words long. I wasn’t bothered by it, because to me it wasn’t any different from reading a book in verse, but I’m pointing it out because it might bother some people.

I predicted the twist long before it was revealed, but knowing beforehand why the Fox family lived in California instead of Boston, why Jenna couldn’t eat, why no one would answer her questions, did not make me loose interest at all. The biotechnological aspect was fascinating, and it made sense from a scientific viewpoint. However, I wish that we could have learned more about the disasters. Fifteen years prior to the time the book takes place, a huge earthquake in Southern California killed tens of thousands of people. Then came an epidemic that wiped out a quarter of the earth’s population, and then six years of what was called the Second Great Depression. And that’s all we’re told. I wish those nearly-apocalyptic disasters had been explained better.

A few reviewers said they felt that the author was preaching from a pro-life stance. But, while medical ethics play a huge part in the story (things like “How far is too far?”), and Jenna makes a pro-life decision near the end, I wouldn’t say it was preachy at all. If Pearson even was trying to be an influence, she was very, very subtle about it. There were no undertones.

The end of the book was a glimpse into the future, two hundred and sixty years later. It was a good, conclusive ending, but I thought it was beak, and even a little...lonely. I can’t explain why without giving away spoilers, but the ending just gave off that kind of feeling.

While I wasn’t missing out on anything amazing, I really shouldn’t have waited two years to read this! The Adoration of Jenna Fox was a thought-provoking and very intriguing novel. Also, even though I’ve seen several people say that it’s “science fiction for people who don’t like science fiction”, I don’t think you’ll enjoy this book if you don’t like sci-fi. But, if you’re a hopeless sci-fi geek like yours truly, read this book.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In My Mailbox [13]

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we share books that we've received.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cover vs. Cover [7]

Cover vs. Cover is a weekly meme, hosted here, where I compare different covers of the same book. For more information, visit the Weekly Features page.

This week's competing covers are:

             The US Cover                                    The UK Cover

I love both of these covers. I love the flowers caught up in the swirling magical-ness on the UK cover. I also love the flowery vines branching out from beneath the cloaked girl and the dramatic lightning on the US cover. I can't pick between these two! I'm calling a tie.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Follow Friday [19]

This Week's Question: Let's step away from besties...What is the worst book that you've ever read and actually finished?

My Answer:
I guess this isn't much of a surprise...but really, it was disgustingly terrible. The rest of the series is way worse (especially Breaking Dawn), but I don't think they count as "actually finished" because I just skimmed through New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn so that when I bash Twilight, I can say that I've read the whole series.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Review: How I Live Now

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Title: How I Live Now
Author: Meg Rosoff
Release Date: August 5, 2004
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Cover Designer:
Nick Stearn
Age Audience: YA
Genre: War Fiction
Tagline: Every war has turning points, and every person too. 
Summary: Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.
As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary.
But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

My Review:
Based on the reviews I read before reading this book, I didn’t come to expect much of a story, and checked this book out from the library out of curiosity. But it was actually very good.

The characters were all likable and three-dimensional. Daisy’s cousins seemed like real people to me. I really liked Daisy too. Her voice had a perfect blend of wit, sarcasm and selfishness for a teenage girl who has to move across the ocean and live with unknown cousins to get away from her sort-of-evil stepmother. Daisy did have anorexia, but unlike some reviews state, it wasn’t one of the central focuses of the story.

The part of the story in which Daisy and her cousins live on their farm without adults or rules was a lot shorter than I expected. Daisy and Piper, her youngest cousin, get sent to live with an army wife, and then later they end up living in a barn which was being used as an army barracks. This was my favorite part of the book, because it was where it really became a survival story. Daisy was constantly planning to escape back to the farm. At the risk of sounding spoilery, it gets VERY intriguing.

I think that Daisy and Edmond’s relationship was a little rushed. Even though it’s a while before Daisy starts to think of Edmond in a romantic way, they start having sex only about a week after their first kiss. I also thought it was a little weird was that Daisy’s other cousins were completely fine with her and Edmond’s relationship. I know that there are several countries today that allow courtship and marriage between first cousins, but I don’t think the UK, where this story took place, is one of them. Shouldn’t their relationship have been viewed as at least somewhat unusual to the people who knew about it?
But wait, it gets weirder. I myself did not have any issues with their relationship. There was not one point in the book where I thought that Daisy and Edmond should not be together. Like I said before, there are a lot of countries in which it’s legal, and while the offspring of first cousins is likely to be physically or mentally impaired, there’s not as big of a risk as most people think. I also read a lot of historical fiction, and in the past cousin marriage was the norm. I could go on about this for hours, but I’m moving on.

One thing I’d like to point out is that even though people on Goodreads have shelved this book as sci-fi, it wasn’t very sci-fi-y. You could say the war was like an apocalypse, but it wasn’t, really. Honestly, I don’t know what genre this book is! Because my organized mind would go crazy if I didn’t label it, I settled for “War Fiction”. Even though that’s probably not a real genre.

Overall, this was a sweet, weird and multi-layered little book. It’s not something that I’d recommend to strangers, but if you’re not squeamish about first-cousin relationships, I think you’re going to like it.

Waiting on Wednesday [16]

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

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Fever by Lauren DeStefano (release date February 21, 2012)
(EDIT: The summary formerly posted here was unauthorized and not meant to be seen, so it has been removed.) 
I loved Wither so much, and I absolutely cannot wait for its sequel!!!
(I was actually going to wait for the cover release to feature this one...but I couldn't wait! Besides, the placeholder cover is rather pretty itself.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

2¢ Tuesdays [1]

2¢ Tuesdays is a meme hosted by Penny at Penny Reads. It's a feature where book bloggers can weigh in with their two cents on book related topics.

This week's topic is:
Which book characters do you hate the most?

I have quite a few, here are four that I can currently think of (in no particular order):

1. Corrine Dollanganger from Flowers in the Attic
*spoiler alert* In the beginning she's a kind and caring mother, but then she becomes a great big selfish bitch who only cares about money and her new husband! She lets her children fade away in the attic for years, and it's her fault that Cory dies! UGH.

2. Bella Swan from Twilight
This needs no explanation.

3. Nora from Hush, Hush
She annoyed me SO MUCH, for half of the book I wanted to slap some sense into her. She was so naïve! For more ranting, you can read my review of Hush, Hush.

4. The Grandmother from Flowers in the Attic
How could she have been so cruel and heartless? She should not have blamed the children for their parent's mistakes! I hear there's a prequel called Garden of Shadows that is about how the grandmother became so terrible, but I don't want to read it because it's written by a ghostwriter, not V. C. Andrews herself.

Special Announcement from Jennifer L. Armentrout!

I'm one of the bloggers who has been selected to announce a new book from Jennifer L. Armentrout (author of Half-Blood)! It is called Cursed, and will be released from Spencer Hill Press in September 2012.

Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cover vs. Cover [6]

Cover vs. Cover is a weekly meme, hosted here, where I compare different covers of the same book. For more information, visit the Weekly Features page.

Heeding to a request, this week's competing covers are:

             The US Cover                                        The UK Cover

I can't speak for the significance of the covers, because...I've barely starting reading/listening to Red Glove (I know, I know, shame on me!). But the actual book aside, I think I like the UK cover better. I love the deep shade of red that the glove on the UK cover is, it makes the glove on the US cover almost look orange. I also like the title and author font better.

Friday, July 1, 2011

30 Books in 30 Days Challenge: Last Update

The 30 Books in 30 Days challenge was hosted by Cait from The Cait Files.

AAANNNNDDD....I failed the challenge. I read 18 books instead of 30. But, for me that's more than I usually read in a month, so I still feel like I accomplished something.

Here are ALL the books I read in June:

Author Interview: Jaclyn Dolamore

About Jaclyn Dolamore
(curtsey of
Jaclyn Dolamore was homeschooled in a hippie sort of way and spent her childhood reading as many books as her skinny nerd-body could lug from the library and playing elaborate pretend games with her sister Kate. She skipped college and spent eight years drudging through retail jobs, developing her thrifty cooking skills and pursuing a lifelong writing dream. She has a passion for history, thrift stores, vintage dresses, David Bowie, drawing, and organic food. She lives with her partner and plot-sounding-board, Dade, and three weird cats.

What inspired you to write Between the Sea and Sky?
Various beloved and classic mermaid tales, from myths and fairy tales to movies like Splash. I loved mermaids as a kid, but I always wished the stories were a tad more sophisticated. Well, not that all mermaid stories are unsophisticated--certainly not--but most novels about them were for children, until this year when suddenly a ton of them are coming out! This world is rather Jane Austen…romantic, humorous, and rather intimate.

What made you want to feature winged people along with mermaids?
I have a soft spot for any sort of people who are almost human but can go to some wondrous realm we can't quite reach--like the sea, or the sky. And yet, on land they're somewhat disadvantaged by awkward wings or a need to stay wet or whatever. I think it makes for an interesting dynamic. Honestly, I could probably write several books exploring some different aspects of a world with humans, winged people and mermaids...

Does Between the Sea and Sky have a playlist?
Yes, I listened to a ton of music while writing it, such as the soundtracks to The Secret of NIMH, Whisper of the Heart, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Pride and Prejudice (BBC) and Emma (the Gwyneth Paltrow one). I also had Italian mandolin music and Spanish dances to add to the somewhat southern European setting, and a rather eerie album by a group called Stellamara. At one point I realized the local pizza joint was playing "my" music… I also had an album of Cecilia Bertoli doing 18th century Italian opera and the translation to one of the songs was "My love has wings…" It was perfect.

What’s next for you as an author?
Well, Magic Under Stone, the sequel to Magic Under Glass, comes out next year, and then…well, there is more exciting stuff a-brewin' but I can't talk about it yet.

If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be?
A librarian! That is…so cliche. Or the owner of a little vintage clothing shop.

If you could meet any person (dead or alive) who would it be?
Ohmigosh. This question is always so hard. There are so many fascinating people in the world. It's a bit cliche but I think Jane Austen because she is such an icon now and she lived before photos, and I'd just love to get a sense of what she was really like. I'd love to meet, like, Charlotte Bronte too, but Jane seems like she'd be more of a delight. Of course, it would also be fascinating to meet someone from a point even further back, like Leonardo da Vinci or something, but I'm afraid I wouldn't know what to SAY to him. I think I could talk to Jane Austen.

If your house was burning and you could only save 3 of your books, which ones would they be and why?
Hmm. Uncle Scrooge McDuck: His Life and Times by Carl Barks…I love Carl Barks' duck comics, and I bought this hefty, well-made book when I was 8 and it's quite rare now, a used copy will run you $150.00! An old hardcover of Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace. And Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900, one of my favorite and most expensive reference books.

Who’s your favorite fictional character?
L. M. Montgomery's Emily Byrd Starr.

Thank you, Jaclyn! It was great talking to you!
For more information, visit Jaclyn on her:

Read my review of Between the Sea and Sky here!

Follow Friday [18]

This Week's Question: ACK! Your favorite book/movie character (example Hermione Granger played by the Emma chick) just walked into the room! Who is it and what would be your first reaction? You get extra points if you include visual stimulation.

My Answer:
That's right. Captain Jack Sparrow, hands down!

And as for my reaction.
If he just unexpectedly walked into the room, my first reaction would probably be

And then I spend at least 10 minutes staring at him like

And if I manage to pull myself together, I take a picture with him and post it on Twitter and Facebook with a caption that says something like "I feast upon your envy".